March 6, 2024

Women in Construction Month

Since it’s Women in Construction week, we reached out to Kim Poole, Senior Vice President of Economic Development at Clayco, a leading integrated design-build firm celebrating three years in the valley, to get her thoughts on the industry here in Phoenix. Kim was Clayco’s second hire in 2021 and has had a dramatic effect on the company culture. She helped grow the office to 360 employees and helped secure more than $3.8 billion of awarded projects for Clayco in Arizona. At the close of 2023, Clayco counted 31 active and completed projects in Arizona.

Growing up, did you see yourself working in construction?

When I was six years old, I lost my brother to a brain tumor when he was only eight,. That experience drove me to explore the healthcare field by working in two children’s hospitals while attending nursing school, and then I shifted focus into a degree in healthcare and interior design. Eventually, I moved into strategy and business development and found my niche. I love to create and build. I thrive on figuring out a client’s biggest challenge and helping create a solution.

What advice do you have for women exploring a career in construction?

I learned early that it is important to have both a mentor and a sponsor on your professional journey. A mentor brings knowledge and coaches you along your career path and a sponsor is your advocate and uses their influence to provide opportunities. I’ve been fortunate to have had amazing male and female mentors and sponsors throughout my career. Other pieces of advice I would share include:

  1. Play to your strengths and create your differentiator. Have a niche, know it well and communicate your value proposition
  2. Surround yourself personally and professionally with those who rise others up
  3. Treat others how you wish to be treated. The Golden Rule has never steered me wrong!

What does it take to be a strong leader in the field of construction?

As in any business, a leader must practice inclusivity and empathy and inspire and motivate ALL team members.  In construction, relationships are key.  A good leader connects, enables and engages with people across all areas of the industry to develop, impact and transform teams and projects.

What do you do outside of work?

I’m proud to share that I am a new mother to 11 chickens! I was shocked to learn that they have such funny personalities. I’m always game for a weekend trip to recharge the batteries, but I also enjoy gardening and sitting on my back patio with a glass of wine.